The shortage of workers in the construction and tourism sectors of Mazatlán forces employers to rethink the way they operate and incorporate their employees.
Ernesto arrived from Oaxaca to Mazatlan along with four colleagues to work on the construction of a condominium tower in the tourist area; The 40-year-old man left his wife and his two children in a community in the municipality of Cosoltepec to come and try his luck with a better job opportunity.
And it is that due to the real estate boom that is registered in the port, the construction industry has faced a lack of personnel, due to a large number of works in development that there are currently.
The workers had to travel 20 hours on a bus to be at the port; They arrived exhausted, but with the hope of being able to earn money that in their land would take twice as long to obtain.
This labor crisis due to the lack of labor not only occurs in the construction sector, but also in tourism, but there the situation changes drastically. Low salaries are the main factor in the shortage of personnel, since after the Covid-19 pandemic many people, especially young people, discovered that there are other routes to be productive and have higher incomes.
The reality is that while the contractors have chosen to bring personnel out of Sinaloa, in order for the work to continue in its process, which means paying them accommodation and travel expenses; hoteliers have had to rethink the working conditions they offer their workers in order to keep their businesses going.
Inflation is added
Neto, as his colleagues call him, says that in his town he earns very little as a bricklayer, just 172 pesos a day (around a thousand pesos a week) and there is hardly any work; in the case of Mazatlan, the salary is just over 2 thousand pesos a week.
” They contacted me and asked me to get four more masons to come to work, it’s far away, but they are going to pay us well, 8,400 pesos a month and they hired us for three months,” he says.
The other side of the coin is Jesús “N”, who for more than 15 years was a chef in a renowned hotel chain and was fired in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, he prefers to look for a job in something else than work in a hotel for 12 hours for a low salary.
Builders from Sinaloa begin to participate in the entity’s private works.
” I know many people who studied Tourism, who have been waiters, receptionists, who choose to work in other places, because the salary is low, the work is enslaved, overtime, without being paid,” he says.
Living with the minimum wage today is almost an impossible mission, the economic situation is increasingly difficult, because with a worker’s salary it is difficult to support a family.
And more so now that inflation in Mexico tightened the pockets of citizens with greater force. In August, prices grew at an average annual rate of 8.67%, their highest level since December 2000, according to the National Consumer Price Index published by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
They import labor
The president of the Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry in the southern zone, Guillermo Trewartha Domínguez, comments that a few months ago masonry workers were needed, but now electricians, plasterers and painters, who are responsible for of the finishes of this type of projects.
He points out that in private works projects, contractors bring their work teams from other states of the country, mainly Oaxaca and Chiapas.
” What is giving a lot of work is the workforce, officials, plasterers, bricklayers, electricians are difficult to find in the city, many people are being imported from other places, because here in Mazatlan you can’t find people “.
He mentions that in recent months the strong demand for labor for new works not only benefits them, but also the entire construction supply chain.
According to information from Planning, this year there are 15 large construction projects contemplated in Mazatlan, such as hotels and condominium towers, as well as subdivisions.
Changes in the tourism sector
For the CEO of the El Cid group, Carlos Berdegué Sacristán, the hotel sector will have to adapt to the changes and understand the reality that the Covid-19 pandemic crisis has left behind, otherwise they will continue to suffer from staff shortages. .
There have been various factors, such as high demand for workers, low wages, working conditions that are not attractive, but above all, young people, as a result of the health crisis, opted for entrepreneurship.
He recognizes that the way of working and hiring places is no longer what it was two years ago, since employees no longer want to work long hours, they want to earn better and their ambitions are different.
” That requires us to rethink what we are going to offer them to keep them or get them to join our companies, there are people who want to do it, but not as we were doing before the Covid-19 crisis .”
Hotels and restaurants have already had to improve benefits and salaries. On average, the base salary of a waiter is five thousand pesos a month, plus tips; the dishwasher earns 6 thousand pesos, like a waiter. A bellboy gets just 4,500 pesos, a receptionist earns 6,000, and security agents get up to 11,000 pesos.
Berdegué Sacristán points out that the crisis due to the lack of labor is not only present in Mexico, but also worldwide, where airlines had to stop working 30 percent of their seats in the United States and in Spain because it has been difficult to find people willing to work.
There is also a strong problem of psychological affectation that the pandemic brought. Berdegué Sacristán assures that for this reason, Grupo el Cid has incorporated a psychologist for the properties in Mazatlán and another for Cancún.
” We are redoing a training program to give more comprehensive psychological support because it is useless to give support to the worker, you return home, and there you have the problems, so we have to work with the whole family,” he said.
In the tourism sector of Mazatlan, there is a shortage of personnel.
In this sense, he recommended being forewarned because health crises will be constant and global changes in the economy will always arise.
The hotelier José Ramón Manguart Sánchez reiterates that Mazatlán currently has a lot of job offers in the tourism industry, but that it does not have the number of people it takes to fill these vacancies.
In the port, there are currently 12,416 hotel rooms, plus around 5,000 vacation rentals. Each hotel requires a minimum of two workers for each area, but there are those who only have one, such as reception, chambermaids, maintenance, and security, among others.
“It is a good problem, because with all this construction issue, where people have come to work from other states due to the same dynamics and the need for more people, for the tourist area it is not something easy, due to the work that it implies. the activity, since it is very demanding “, he says.
” We have had to look for him, manage to put together a good, stable team, we have also had to work on improving the work environment and salaries “.
He admits that many people avoid being employed in what has to do with tourist activity because of how demanding it is, which is why they currently synergize with universities in that sense, to show what tourism is, what it represents for the city and that way arouse interest, so that young people get involved.
” In recent years there has been a drop in the enrollment of young people who study a degree in Tourism and I understand it, because the generations that graduated from 2010 to 2012, when there were complicated situations of insecurity in Mazatlan, had to choose to look for other alternatives other than tourism, because when they graduated there were no opportunities because we were surviving in those times. Today we are in a very different situation, but it has become complicated “.
Slow restaurant growth
The president of the National Chamber of the Mazatlan Restaurant Industry, Rodrigo Becerra Rodríguez, reiterated that the biggest problem of restaurants today is the lack of workers.
He insists that there is a lot of job offer and few people looking for a job, so the situation represents a great challenge for restaurateurs who want to open a new business.
” To make our teams have been very difficult, we put ads in the newspaper, on social networks and people do not come, it is the challenge of people who are growing in their businesses, the main impediment is the lack of people who want to work, and it is that everyone seeks to be employed where they earn more, that is a reality “.
12,416 hotel rooms in Mazatlan
5 thousand vacation rental units are offered in Mazatlan.
15 large construction projects, such as hotels and condominium towers, as well as subdivisions, will be carried out in Mazatlán this 2022.
Salary in construction
Bricklayer: 8 thousand 400 pesos per month
Salary in hotels
Waiter: 5 thousand pesos a month, plus tips.
Dishwasher: 6 thousand pesos per month.
Waiter: 6 thousand pesos per month.
Bell boy: 4,500 pesos per month plus tips.
Receptionist: 6 thousand pesos per month.
Security agent: 11 thousand pesos per month.